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Short takes: TUDOR Black Bay Chrono Steel and Gold

Fancy but forgettable?
by Chester Lau on September 7, 2019
Reviews

The history of the TUDOR divers’ watch dates back to 1954 and the launch of reference 7922. The basic design with a bezel, triple link bracelet and screw-down crown laid down the aesthetic and technical foundations of an ideal divers’ watch.

The Case and Dial

TUDOR’s first chronograph made its debut in 1970 with the Oysterdate, in blue and then in black. The TUDOR Black Bay Chrono Steel and Gold represents both the old chronograph models and its diver’s watch heritage. The new hybrid Black Bay Chrono chronograph combines the diver’s heritage represented by the Black Bay family with a motorsports icon, the chronograph.

The main Black Bay characteristics are retained in a 41 mm steel case equipped with yellow-gold pushers. A fixed bezel in yellow gold with a black anodised aluminium insert and tachymetric scale completes the motorsports design.

Like other models in the Black Bay line, the Black Bay Chrono S&G model features a dial inspired by the TUDOR divers’ watches produced in the 1950s.

Remaining faithful to the Black Bay aesthetic, the Black Bay Chrono S&G model makes the famous “snowflake” hands its own in a gold version refined for optimum readability against the domed matt-black dial. Its counters are hollowed and their champagne colour creates optimum contrast. Following the TUDOR chronograph tradition, a date aperture is positioned at 6 o’clock. Finally, the large winding crown, characteristic of the first generation of TUDOR divers’ watches, is also adopted in this model.

The fabric strap is one of the signatures of TUDOR. Woven on 19th-century Jacquard looms by a 150-year-old family firm from the region of St-Etienne, it offers unique quality and comfort.

The Black Bay Chrono model presents a black strap and is also available with a steel and yellow gold bracelet, inspired by the folding riveted bracelets of TUDOR watches produced in the 1950s and 60s.

Famous for having rivet heads for attaching the links, as well as a stepped construction, these two aesthetic details are incorporated into the new model. Finally, in a spirit of 1970s racing, the Black Bay Chrono offers a bund-type option in brown aged leather with ecru stitching and a folding clasp.

The Movement

With a 70-hour power reserve, a silicon balance spring and Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute certification, the chronograph Calibre MT5813 that drives the Black Bay Chrono S&G model is the high-performance movement B01 movement sourced from Breitling. It was designed with a column-wheel mechanism and vertical clutch.

Concluding thoughts

All in all, the watch is an attractive timepiece with a robust movement. The case manufacturing is pleasant. Essentially the TUDOR Black Bay Chrono Steel and Gold makes for a highly versatile timepiece. But while the watch is a nice product, it lacks historical significance and has a very predictable design. It’s a looker, but it lacks a certain uniqueness required for it to stand out among other entry level watch brands.

The watch is priced starting at US$6,800.

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